Just because they’re not adults, you think they can’t get depressed. Well, teenagers face a lot of pressures in their daily lives and yes, they too can feel extremely sad, helpless, hopeless, and even suicidal. Puberty is confusing and add to that the feeling of wanting to belong while they find their “true” friend is an enormous feat. Broken families also tip the depression scale in these kids and they think they have no one to turn to.
“Depression is an illness, an illness that you have little control over, just like any other illness. Nobody tells people with broken bones to get over their pain.” Charmaine J. Simmons, LPC said. You have to understand that teens are going through a lot and as their parents, it is our job to help them become better people and to reach their fullest potentials. Teen depression is a serious mental health disorder. In some cases, medication is prescribed, but with your support, understanding, care, and love, this depression in your teens can be treated. They can live normally and will be able to function better in life.
Signs and Symptoms of Depression in Teens
Deborah Serani, PsyD. says, “Depression is not a weakness of character, laziness, or a phase. Tough love, like telling someone to ‘buck up’ or ‘try harder,’ doesn’t work, and worsens the illness.” Your teenager won’t come up to you and say “Hey mom, I’m depressed!“. You have to check if your teen’s moodiness is more than the usual teenage angst.
- Extreme sadness or feelings of hopelessness
- Self-esteem issues
- Anger issues
- Always crying
- Lost interest in hobbies and daily activities
- Low grades in school
- Not sleeping enough or sleeping all the time
- Note eating enough or binge eating
- Always agitated
- No motivation
- Always tired
- No focus
- Complains about body and head aches
Not all teenagers are sluggish or sad when they are depressed. Those rebellious teens, filled with anger and hate, they too manifest the depression symptoms.
Recognizing Depression from Teenage Pains
You know your teen better than anyone else. It is normal for them to act out at times or be moody. Some behavioral changes may be seen, but it’s not severe or disturbing.
If your teen shows extreme personality changes, bad behavioral patterns or severe stress, it can be a deeper problem like depression. Depression is not a one-time thing. It is persistent and lasts for months or years when not addressed properly. This is when you need to assist your teens because this mental health problem can open doors for other behavioral disorders in the future.
How to Communicate with your Depressed Teen
Perhaps now you suspect that your teen has a depression problem. These are simple ways to talk to them so they will let down their guard and let you assist them.
- Listen to them talk and never criticize. Don’t judge them and resist the urge to tell them of their wrongdoings. It is very hard to do, but lecturing a depressed teen will add fuel to the fire, so to speak.
- Talk gently and yet, be persistent. Your teen will most probably shut you out at first, so be understanding and never give up until they agree to get professional help. Express your intention to assist them because they are your children and that you love them – say that to your teenage son or daughter. “Assure that BOTH you and your child are calm when speaking about behaviors. Convey understanding of their feelings and ask them what they think will help them to manage their emotions. Communicating while calm always results in more successful plans.” Barb Roba, LMCH explains.
- Tell your teens that you acknowledge how they are feeling and that you love them nonetheless. This is a very serious matter and you will not downplay their emotions. Make them realize that you are there for support and that you fully understand how they feel and what they are going through.
This will be a trying time for you and your teen. Depression is the biggest mental health problem in the world today not just for teens, but for adults as well. Seek for appropriate treatment right away.